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You watch TV online, you shop online, but do you bank online? Online checking accounts and banking features are quickly becoming popular methods of banking, for many people. We’re not talking about brick and mortar banks offering online banking features; we’re talking about truly online banking, without a physical home base to visit. Sound scary? Don’t freak out yet. Online banking actually offers a myriad of features and perks. Here’s how online banking rates can help you actually save money.

I think many people would agree that the best banks are the banks with the lowest rates, free checking accounts, and good home equity loans. While some people prefer the luxury of being able to walk into a bank, online banks are actually offering more incentives for customers than traditional banks. Surprisingly, online checking accounts are often the best banking accounts around. Here’s why:

Online banks don’t have a home base, but know their customers need cash. So, almost all online checking accounts will allow you to pull money out of any ATM and will completely reimburse you for the ATM fees. They also often charge very small amounts (if any) for online features, since that is how all of their customers will be banking.

Why do all of these small transactions matter? Well, think about your future. Most financial advisors agree that you need up to 85% of your income (pre-retirement) to sustain yourself once retired. Say you spend $5 a week in ATM or online banking fees. That’s $260 a year that your current bank is forcing you to spend. Now, say you stop at the atm three times a week. That’s $780 a year that you’re saving, that you could actually put to something worthwhile, like savings, your mortgage, or retirement.

Many online banks also allow you reduced rates on credit reporting, or sometimes, can offer you free credit services. Since less than 20% of the population has a credit score of between 800 and 850 and many people don’t know that applying for new credit can impact 10% of your score, this education and online access is extremely valuable.

Convenience, of course, is the top reason many people turn to online banking. Their bank is always open, always on call, and always within reach. An online checking account makes it easy to pay bills online, and often comes with bill assessment tools to help you better understand where your money is going and how to set long and short term savings goals. Best of all, many online accounts do not even require a minimum amount to remain within your account, and can also offer higher interest rates on savings accounts, getting you the absolute best rates around for your hard earned cash. And speaking of convenience, how about never waiting in line again to make a deposit? Most online banks make it easy to deposit cash in any ATM and allow your to deposit checks via your smart phone.

Online banking has come a long way since its origins, and with its many features and benefits, it is easy to see why more and more people are turning to online checking accounts, as opposed to old fashioned accounts.